Food is a very important cog in the ever-spinning wheel of human life. We need food to survive and we need food to thrive. Our diets affect every part of our overall health by providing the basic nutrients our bodies need to function at its zenith. But what role does nutrition play in defining our oral health? How does food affect our teeth and gums? Well, let’s find out.
Oral Hygiene and your Diet
There are very many varieties of food that we consume on a daily basis. Some foods are good for our oral hygiene, others…not so much. One such component of food that causes more harm than good to our dear teeth is SUGAR. Tooth decay and cavities happen when plaque comes in contact with sugars in the mouth. This process forms acids. The thing about acids is, when acid is introduced into the mouth, and eventually onto the teeth, the mouth encounters a drop in pH (making it more acidic). The pH at which teeth damage occurs is 5.5. The normal pH is around 6.8-7.5. If the pH in the mouth reaches 5.5 or below for way too long, then the tooth will be damaged, often times beyond reasonable repair. For this reason, professionals recommend that you stay away from frequent consumption of sugary beverages or foods that really high in sugar content. If you have a ‘sweet tooth’ and tend to over-indulge, then it’s best you maintain good oral health practices and schedule regular health checkups.
One other very important factor to take note of when it comes to oral health is dental erosion. Dental erosion occurs when you consume acidic foods. These acidic foods cause a kind of friction of your enamel (the thin outer covering that constitutes the hard nature of your teeth) which wears it away. This makes your teeth very soft and prone to pain and extraction. Certain medications like Aspirin and antihistamines, citrus fruits like lemons and lime, high content sugar foods and vinegar are some of the foods that can wear off your enamel.
Taking care of dental health need not be a hassle or an expense. Drinking milk provides calcium and vitamins that you need to help your teeth, drinking plenty of water for sustained periods of time, eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, taking some cups of green and black tea, rating lean sources of protein and low fat/fat-free dairy foods will go a long way in maintaining and improving your overall quality of dental health and putting the shine in your smile of smiles.
To learn more about how to care for your teeth during, or prior to your orthodontic care, contact us for a free consultation!